I have known this story for a long time, since the 1985 movie A Room With a View is one of my favourite films. As a teenager, my girlfriends and I was delightfully shocked by the bathing scene where the young men run naked around the secret pond. The romantic storyline, of course, appealed to us as well. Today I am more amazed with the string of excellent actors in the cast – Helena Bonham-Carter, Maggie Smith, Julian Sands, Daniel Day-Lewis, Judie Dench and Rupert Graves, to name a few.
I have read E.M. Forster before – A Passage to India, which I found very interesting and I cannot give a reason for never picking up A Room with a View before. I simply have to blame too many books to read and too little time.
I enjoyed the book. As always, the book gives more insights to the characters feelings and thoughts than a movie does. Two things I found especially interesting. Spoiler alert ahead!
In the book it is understood, seen from the vicar’s point of view, that there is a choice between marriage and an independent life for Lucy. Even the choice between Mr. Vyse and George is a choice between belonging to a man and being an accessory to his life, and individuality and independence of thought.
Secondly, in the film there is a reference to a letter that Freddy writes to Lucy in Italy that I have never be able to make sense of. In the book it is much clearer, as the book goes into the implications Lucy’s choice of George has. This is never explained in the movie except for that reference to the letter – completely out of context.
My views of books vs films are therefore intact. Both can be equally enjoyable but the book will always give a deeper insight. Often too, it is better to view them as separate things and not compare them. I would recommend, as I so often do, that you read the book and watch the film, or vice versa if you prefer.